Swindon Town: 5th October, 2019


Published in the Bradford City AFC match day programme for the above fixture

Bradford City and Swindon Town first met in the Football League during the 1958/59 season as members of the newly formed Division Three having been in the regionalised northern and southern third divisions respectively. The first fixture was on 24th September, 1958 at Swindon and ended in a 2-2 draw and the return was a week later in Bradford on 1st October, 1958 which ended as a 1-2 defeat for the hosts. Notable is that the crowd 61 years ago at Valley Parade was 8,279.

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This is now the 19th season that the two clubs have been in the same division, most of which have been since 1987/88 which was our ‘nearly season’ in the second tier when we narrowly missed promotion. In fact, prior to then our League meetings were few and far between, limited to three seasons in Division Three between 1958-61 and then a solitary season, 1977/78. In 1968/69 the clubs met in the Second Round of the League Cup with Swindon progressing in a replay after a 2-2 draw at Valley Parade and the Robins subsequently defeated Arsenal in the final. The Swindon goalkeeper that season was Peter Downsborough who later became a big hero for City. Sadly Peter died only last week and will be fondly remembered by supporters of both City and Swindon Town- a brief tribute to him on this blog through this link.

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I travelled to Swindon for our game in January, 1988 which was abandoned midway as a result of fog. The game was replayed ten weeks later at the end of March, 1988 which was yet another 2-2 draw between the sides. It came at a time when the team was struggling to get results, not helped by injuries and it was the loss of form that proved costly for our promotion ambitions.

Of our meetings, only once before have we competed together in the fourth tier, that being in 2011/12 when both meetings were goalless. In aggregate, of our 38 games in the Football League there have been 11 draws and 11 victories for the Bantams. The last time Swindon Town came to Valley Parade was in March, 2017 when our 2-1 win put us on track to finish in the League One play-offs which now seems a long time ago.


You can find other features about the history of Bradford City AFC on this blog as well as links to other content that I have published previously. The menu provides links to archive images featuring historic photographs of Valley Parade as well as old programmes.

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John Dewhirst